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Colombia surprises Dominican Republic and will go for the title


HAVANA, Cuba, April 1, 2017–Colombia surprised Dominican Republic succeeding in a hard-fought match 3-2 (10-25, 22-25, 25-16, 28-26, 15-11) and will play for the gold medal of the IV Pan American U18 Girls’ Cup.


The South Americans, encouraged by the world ticket earned on the previous day, organized their defense and controlled the service creating difficulties to their strong rivals who had come to this tournament already qualified to the major event.


Manuela Ibarguen (22) led the Colombian offensive followed by Ana Olaya (16) and Valerin Carabali (12).


For the losing team, Madeline Guillen (28) was the match best scorer followed by her teammates Yaneirys Rodriguez (14) and Yanlis Feliz Sena (12).


Colombians moved on to the match for the title after winning in Pool B over Costa Rica (3-0), but they lost against Cuba (1-3); in quarterfinals, they dominated Mexico (3-1) contributing to get the world qualification after the Chileans’ loss.


The Dominicans headed the Pool C with victories against Uruguay (3-0), Guatemala (3-0) and Mexico (3-1), and secured direct pass to semifinals as the best pool winner of the preliminary round.


Alexandre Ceccato, Brazilian coach of Dominican Republic: “It did not surprise me the Colombian team’s performance because they are quite dangerous. They played the first set very bad. However they were growing and at the end they played better deserving the victory.”


“Although we have not had our best player, Natalia Martínez, it was not which made the difference as we could have won easily. It has demonstrated that to be able to win it is crucial to be decisive on the court.”


Antonio Rizola, Brazilian coach of Colombia: “I was for six year without working for the indoor discipline. I used to the manager in Brazil. So this victory achieved after only two months coaching them is the greatest joy I have ever had as we made efforts to change their playing mentality. This triumph means Colombia has a great future and we will go for it.”


Valerin Carabali, Colombian captain: “We are extremely happy as it is the first time we get to the final at this age category. I think we won because of our attitude fighting more and forgetting they were the favorite ones. In addition we were very united communicating each other; it was the key factor.”


Yaneirys Rodriguez, Dominican captain: “We congratulate the Colombians on their world championship berth earned in this tournament which we had already won last year. Today we had a very good match, but we could have done more. Now it remains to think of tomorrow’s match for the bronze medal.”